"Fund of Caucasus"
Scientific conference “Mass exiles of the Caucasian peoples in the 19th-20th centuries”
Scientific conference “Mass exiles of the Caucasian peoples in the 19th-20th centuries” organized by the “Fund of Caucasus”, was held in the capital of Georgia – Tbilisi on February 23, 2010. The conference concerned hard, tragic events in the history of the Caucasian peoples. Those were occupation of the young Georgian Republic by the Red Army when in February, 89 years ago, the outskirts of Tbilisi were coloured with blood of last heroic defenders of the city, and a large-scale exile of the Chechens and Ingushes on February 23, 1944. In order to recall and condemn once more those and other inhuman actions, in the hall of Radisson Hotel met the members of the Georgian Government and Parliament of Georgia, famous scientists, writers-publicists, figures of culture, representatives of Diasporas, non-governmental organizations, as well as guests from abroad.
The conference was opened by Givi Gambashidze, President of the “Fund of Caucasus”, Co-Chairman of Commission for Scientific Collaboration with Countries of the Caucasus at the Georgian National Academy of Sciences. G.Gambashidze warmly welcomed the audience and familiarized them with the program of the arrangement. The participants with a one-minute silence paid the tribute to the memory of victims.
State Minister of Georgia on Diaspora Issues Papuna Davitaia, successor to the Georgian throne Nugzar Bagrationi, historians – Academician Roin Metreveli and Sarah Slay, expert on the issues of the Caucasus Mamuka Areshidze addressed to the audience their words of salutation. All the spokesmen condemned the events of February 23, 1944, when about half a million Chechens and Ingushes were cruelly exiled from their native land by the Soviet Power.
Afterwards, courtier pseudo-historians tried to erase those facts from the history, but the people’s memory turned to be much wiser. Furthermore, there were progressive persons – real defenders of people who in the very heat of “the triumph of communism” did not fear to remind publicly about the truth.
Nowadays, not only single persons, but also democratic authorities of most countries recognized and blamed such facts of history.
With great interest the audience listened to the speeches concerning the deportation and mass exiles of the peoples of the Caucasus. Caucasiologist Merab Chukhua touched on the events of 1944, “expulsion of the Vainakhs”, publicist Gulaber Ananiashvili’s topic integrated “the deportations from the Caucasus”, historian Bezhan Khorava told about the Circassians in Russian-Caucasian War, historian Mzia Tkavashvili told about the “Muhajirhood” in the history of Dagestan, journalist Clara Baratashvili in her emotional speech concerned the painful for all the Georgians theme – “the deportation of Meskhs-Muslims”.
Finally, G.Gambashidze expressed gratitude towards the spokesmen and participants of the conference, numerous representatives of mass-media and noticed that it was symbolic that a big remembrance-candle kindled in the beginning of the arrangement, was burning down. He said that many times in future progressive forces, peaceful peoples of the Caucasus would meet to kindle candles of memory as a protest against the crimes committed and unfortunately being committed against the whole peoples.
"MASS EXILES OF THE CAUCASIAN PEOPLES
IN THE 19th – 20th CENTURIES"
February 23, 2010, 14:00
Organizers: "Fund of Caucasus"
“Commission for Scientific Collaboration with Countries of the Caucasus”
P R O G R A M
Opening of the conference:
Givi Gambashidze, President of "Fund of Caucasus"
Greetings and speeches:
Papuna Davitaia, State Minister of Georgia on Diaspora Issues
Nugzar Tsiklauri, Member of Parliament of Georgia
Nugzar Bagrationi, successor to the Georgian throne
Roin Metreveli, historan, Academician of Georgian National Academy of Sciences
Mamuka Areshidze, expert on the issues of the Caucasus
Sarah Slay, historian
Merab Chukhua, caucasiologist – "Expulsion of the Vainakhs in 1944"
Gulaber Ananiashvili, publicist – "The deportations from the Caucasus"
Bezhan Khorava, historian – "The Circassians and Russian-Caucasian War"
Mzia Tkavashvili, historian – "Peoples of Dagestan and muhajirhood"
Clara Baratashvili, journalist – "Some aspects of the history of deportation of the Meskhs-Muslims"
Address: Tbilisi, Rose Revolution Square, No.1
Hotel "Radisson Blue Iveria"
President of the "Fund of the Caucasus" Givi Gambashidze opened the evening. He welcomed the participants and briefly informed the audience about historical facts which became the tragedy for the Circassian people. "Today we have assembled here in order to show to the whole progressive world: our Caucasian brothers – the Circassians are not lonesome in their grief, we grieve together with them and pray for perished people", – said G. Gambashidze. He informed the audience that in the same day in Maikop took place the arrangements dedicated to this tragic date in the history of the Circassian people; then he introduced the guests from Jordan and Turkey who had arrived by the invitation of the "Fund of Caucasus."
In his speech Member of the Parliament of Georgia Nugzar Tsiklauri in particular said: "The Georgian authorities had chosen the right position when shared in the Circassian people's tragedy. The defence of the North-Caucasian peoples' interests, the renewal interrelation with them will be one of the priority directions in the further activities of the Georgian Parliament. Our common past and kinship of the Caucasian peoples oblige the Georgian community to feel the North-Caucasian peoples' pain as the Georgian people's pain".
The successor to the Georgian throne Nugzar Bagrationi in his speech emphasized the importance of the world community's legal evaluation of such crimes against the whole peoples.
At the commemoration evening spoke Chairman of the Group of Friendship with North-Caucasian Parliaments Mikheil Tskitishvili, expert on the issues of the Caucasus Mamuka Areshidze and Academician of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, historian Mariam Lortkipanidze. M. Lortkipanidze told about some tragic episodes from her private life: her family members had experienced the repressive policy of a totalitarian regime themselves. "As a historian I can speak much about such facts, – said she, – but you know, today the human factor prevails in me and under influence of feelings, as a woman and a mother, I now grieve about innocent victims..."
Priest Father Zurab once again confirmed the position of Georgian Orthodox Church that was expressed in supporting the idea of common Caucasian peace and understanding.
Political scientist from Jordan Abdul Hamiid Bakier in his welcoming speech thanked the "Fund of Caucasus" for the possibility to participate in such an important and generous arrangement that was a brilliant example of how the memory of repression victims should be venerated.
Especially affecting was the appearance of Tamara Ujukhu, the representative of Circassian Diaspora in Georgia. She described terrible events of forcible expulsion of the Circassians from their native homes. "I feel myself as a Muhajir, – concluded she her speech, – and although I did not live in the century when Muhajirship took place, I fully feel invisible ties with my ancestors, feel their pain".
Before starting the main reports, G. Gambashidze read out the Appeal to the Circassian (Adygean) community, the text was approved by the audience.
Then took place the presentation of the 3rd edition of Mikhail Lokhvitski's (Ajuk-Girey's) book "Thunderous rumble" published with the financial support of the "Fund of Caucasus". It is a truthful story about the Caucasian War, about the tragedy of Caucasian peoples and hard human destinies. The author's daughter Anna Lokhvitskaya told about her father and the history of creation of the story. She thanked the organizers of the evening for the assistance in publication of the book, as well as for their great contribution to the common Caucasian deed.
In her report historian Mzia Tkavashvili familiarized the audience with the materials concerning forcible migration of the Circassians; historian from Jordan Professor Fakhruddin Dagestani in his speech touched upon the related subject; caucasiologist Merab Chukhua told about the Caucasian emigration and the idea of confederation. Interesting reports were delivered by historian Bezhan Khorava, Naira Bepiyeva, Niko Javakhishvili and publicist Gulaber Ananiashvili.
With great interest listened the audience to the speech of young Turkish historian Ahmed Fatih Aсari who described the life and activities of the Circassian Diaspora in Turkey.
In his concluding remarks Givi Gambashidze thanked the community for the understanding of the importance of that evening, thanked speakers for their interesting reports, thanked the representatives of the Georgian authorities for the attention they devoted to the issues of the Caucasus.
The participants of the evening held a moment of silence for the memory of victims of Circassian tragedy.